Conference to Touch on Peace in Asia and Mideast

MANILA, Philippines, JUNE 30, 2003 ( A forthcoming Christian-Muslim conference here will tackle the issue of peace, from the Mideast to Southeast Asia.

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The 21st General Assembly of the Bishops-Ulema Conference, which will take place on Aug. 18-20, will focus on the fallout of the Sept. 11 attacks, in the 12 nations of Southeast Asia. It will also focus on how to smooth the way for the “road map” for peace in the Middle East.

Convoked under the title “Seeking Peace and Development Through an Authentic Christian and Muslim Dialogue of Life in Asia,” 30 ulema (Muslim scholars or religious leaders), 30 Catholic bishops and 30 Protestant bishops will attend the meeting in Olongapo, north of the Philippine capital.

Started in 1996 at the initiative of Archbishop Fernando Cavalla of Davao, and of Mahid Mutilan, president of the Philippine Ulema League, the objective of the Bishops-Ulema Conference is to “explore the spiritual foundations of peace, starting from the religious traditions of Muslims and Christians.”

According to the Misna missionary agency, two envoys of the Vatican are expected to attend: Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

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